Japan Foundation Touring Exhibition: April 11 – July 11, 2018

 This touring exhibition “Tokyo Before/After” features 80 pieces of photography in two groups. The historical works shot in Tokyo in the 1930s to 1940s are displayed in contrast with contemporary pieces created after 2010.

Before World War II, the city of Tokyo in the 1930s and 1940s was about to complete the urban structural framework as a contemporary metropolis. Photographers took expressive advantage of the high technical level of their medium in order to fix the images of a vibrant, urban space, where the traditional and the modern co-existed and clashed at the same time.

In contrast, after 2010 Tokyo enfolds the fluid social condition of the era after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and is experiencing even greater transformation, aiming towards the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Rapid digitalization of the photographic method influences the characteristics of photographic expression; thus, the individuality and viewpoint of each artist are more clearly visible than ever.

In comparing the two groups of photography from these different eras, the figures of Tokyo in the past, present, and future are distinctively intensifying. Tokyo is drawing international attention in the light of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. We hope that exhibition visitors will deepen their understanding of the multi-faceted megacity of Tokyo through the photographs by Japanese artists in this touring exhibition.